Garman House

Amherst College’s Garman House is a vintage building on the Common of historic downtown Amherst. This Amherst College dormitory was ready for a full finish upgrade and new mechanical systems, as well as a re-design to comply with current Accessibility standards.

The project was scheduled for a “summer slammer”, during the students’ summer break, with six months from bid to completion, and only a 2 month construction period. The work was completed on schedule, and in time for August student move-in.

C&H was careful to maintain the historic character of the original architecture, which occupies a site of high visibility, while significantly improving the building components and systems.

The enclosure built to accommodate mechanicals and a new accessible lift was constructed out of bricks salvaged from an adjacent walkway. This assured a seamless match to the material of the existing building.

The new walkways were made accessible through extensive regrading that eliminated abrupt elevation changes, while maintaining the building’s relationship to the public right of way.

All 1st floor public spaces were reconfigured for universal access, including the shared lounge and kitchen. One first floor bedroom was also renovated to comply with accessibility standards.

Interior finishes were renewed or replaced throughout, including all flooring and wall treatments. All bathrooms were completely renovated, including a new fully accessible bath on the first floor.

The vintage railing at the entry porch was preserved, with new complimentary horizontal rails installed above to meet Massachusetts Architectural Access Board and Building Code requirements.

Historic windows were upgraded with the Bi-Glass system, allowing for retention of the existing sash with new insulated dual pane glazing.

Lighting was replaced throughout with high efficiency, predominantly LED, fixtures.

Project Team


C&H Architects

General Contractor

Mechanical Engineer